Sunday, April 11, 2010

Indian Birthday Feast

My birthday celebration continues!  I had dinner with my family today, and although it was to celebrate my birthday, I "volunteered" to cook for all of us.  I had been wanting to create an Indian feast for some time now, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity.  I am so pleased with how everything turned out, and so was everyone else.  I got rave reviews for everything!  It all honestly tasted like it came from my favorite Indian restaurant.  I will be making all of these components again in the future!

** Indian Birthday Feast Menu **

Potato-Pea Samosas with Cilantro-Mint Chutney and Raw Onion Relish

Murg Makhani (Butter Chicken)
Basmati Rice
Masoor Dal (Red Lentil Dal)

Potato-Pea Samosas 
Makes 20 
(Adapted from The Food of India

12 oz potatoes, peeled, boiled and diced 
½ cup frozen peas 
1 T. vegetable oil 
¾ cup chopped onion 
1 tsp. ground cumin 
½ tsp. ground coriander 
½ tsp. ground turmeric 
½ tsp. garam masala 
1/8 tsp. ground cardamom 
1/8 tsp. (or less) cayenne pepper 
1 ½ T. minced fresh ginger 
1 ½ T. lemon juice 
2 T. chopped cilantro 
Salt to taste 

2 cups all-purpose flour 
½ tsp. salt 
4 T. vegetable oil 
About ½ cup (or more) water, as needed 

Heat the 1 T. vegetable oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the chopped onion and cook until soft and just beginning to turn golden. Add the spices, fresh ginger, potatoes and peas. Stir to evenly coat the vegetables with the spice mixture. Cook for a few minutes to heat the potatoes and peas so they can absorb the flavors. Add the lemon juice, chopped cilantro, and salt to taste. Remove from the heat and cool until ready to form the samosas. 

To make the dough, mix together the flour and salt in a bowl. Add the oil and use your fingers to mix until you have a crumbly mixture. Add the water and mix with your hands until the dough just comes together nicely and is no longer dry. Gather dough and place on a floured board. Need for several minutes until the dough becomes smooth. Set aside in a covered bowl for about 30 minutes until ready to use. 

Cut the dough into 10 equal pieces. Roll each into a ball, and then roll out each ball into about a 5 inch diameter. Cut in half. Make the half into a cone by sticking seam together with a little water. Fill the cone three-quarters full with the potato-pea mixture. Stick the top of the cone together with a little water and press, then pleat to seal. Trim the imperfections from the pleated edge with a knife. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling. You may have some leftover filling. 

Fill a saucepan about 2 inches deep with vegetable oil and heat to about 350 degrees F. Carefully add small batches of samosas into the oil, without overcrowding. Fry until well browned, turning them once. Drain on a wire rack and keep them hot in a low oven. Serve with accompanying sauces. 



Raw Onion Relish 

1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 tsp salt 
5 tsp. lemon juice 
1 T. paprika 
1/8 tsp ground cumin 
Dash of cayenne pepper 

Mix everything together and let sit for at least 30 minutes to marry the flavors. 

Cilantro-Mint Chutney 

3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (packed) 
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint (packed) 
1 T. lemon juice 
3/4 cup plain yogurt 
Salt to taste 

Put all the ingredients in a blender and puree. Wipe down the edges with a spatula, and puree again until well combined.  

Murg Makhani (Butter Chicken) 
Serves 8 

2 T. vegetable oil 
1 cup chopped onion 
2 T. minced garlic 
2 T. minced fresh ginger 
2 T. unsalted butter 
2 T. garam masala 
1 T. chili powder 
1 T. ground cumin 
1 tsp. ground ginger 
2 T. lemon juice 
1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes 
3/4 cup strained plain yogurt (strain in strainer lined with cheesecloth) 
1/2 cup heavy cream 
Salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper to taste 

3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into chunks 
2 T. vegetable oil 
Salt, pepper, and garam masala to taste 

Heat 2 T. vegetable oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Saute onion until soft and translucent. Add the garlic, fresh ginger, butter, garam masala, chili powder, cumin, ground ginger and lemon juice. Stir and cook for a few minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes and cook a couple minutes longer. Add the strained yogurt and cream. Season with salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper to taste. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes to allow the flavors to develop. Set aside until the chicken is cooked.

Meanwhile, season the chicken chunks with salt, pepper, and garam masala. Heat 2 T. vegetable oil in a heavy skillet over medium high heat. Cook the chicken without crowding for about 10 minutes until lightly browned and barely cooked through. Remove from the heat and add to the sauce. Simmer together for about 10 more minutes to marry the flavors and finish cooking the chicken. Serve over basmati rice.


Masoor Dal (Red Lentil Dal) 
Serves 8 

2 T. oil 
2 cups chopped onion 
5 T. minced fresh ginger 
3 T. minced garlic 
1 tsp. garam masala 
1 tsp. ground cumin 
2 cups red lentils, washed and picked over 
5 cups water 
Salt to taste 

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Add the onion and cook until softened and beginning to turn golden. Add the ginger, garlic, garam masala, and cumin. Cook for a few minutes to soften the garlic and ginger and infuse the flavors. Add the red lentils and water. Add salt and stir. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until lentils are tender and saucy, but not soupy. Taste and adjust seasoning with more salt if necessary. Serve hot.



5 Star Foodie said...

A fabulous feast! Everything looks so delicious! Happy birthday!

Victoria K. said...

Thanks! It WAS delicious :) I look forward to the leftovers.

Linn @ Swedish Home Cooking said...

Indian feast, wohoo! I can't tell you how much I'm craving Indian food right now. Compared to Swedish food..Swedish food is a bit dull sometimes so you'll need to mix it up with more spicy stuff. Like Indian food, right!

Wheels and Lollipops said...

Now you have me craving my mom's food !!! Will definitely be adding this to my next dinner menu.

Mom said...

This Indian Feast was absolutely fantastic! I was one of the luckiest people to enjoy it on Sunday. Everything was just fabulous. Great job, Victoria and Happy Birthday!

Sarah said...

OH MY GOD! I'm so happy with this! I almost fainted. Haha. This looks wonderful. Really. A very happy birthday to you and thank you for sharing. :)

notyet100 said...

omg u prepared all of this,.at the end of the day u must have felt so good,..belated birthday wishes to u

Victoria K. said...

Thank you everyone! I actually did make it all! My mom was an excellent sous chef, though, haha. I made the two sauces and the potato-pea filling the day before. I then made the sauce for the chicken and the chicken, but put them aside to cool separately and just warmed them up together to finish cooking later, after I made the dough, assembled and then fried the samosas. Then I made the lentils and rice. Those cooked faster but I had done a good job with my "mise en place" ahead of time so I had everything chopped, washed, ready to go! It was kind of a circus on the stove, but we managed to make it all work, haha.

Ann said...

I wanna have my birthday soon.. to hae something like tahat.. what a feast.. so mouth watering. Happy Birthday

Kathy Gori said...

looks wonderful, I did a similar thing for my birthday a few weeks ago. Everything on your table looks yummy.

Victoria K. said...

Thanks, I just love Indian food :) I hope your birthday was fun as well, Kathy!

Karla said...

Those look amazing! I love Indian food. Hope you're doing well!!

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